Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crowdfunding for the Financially Impaired

My temporary busking pitch.

So, you know you have the talent to be a star, but your just flat broke, and you have no one to feed you while your getting discovered. As a matter of fact ever since Aunt Ethel, your last surviving relative, kicked you out of her house you have been living on the street. No job. No home. No one to care. What can you do with all of that talent?

Well, if you sing and play but don't own a guitar you can beg, borrow or steal (not recomended) a guitar, and hit the streets as a busker.

What is a busker? Well, simply put, a busker is a street performer, or a person who entertains in a public place for donations. Singers, musicians, magicians, artist, mimes, anyone who performs their artful craft in public hoping for donations from pleased onlookers and passers-by would be called a busker. And yes, people are more apt to pay you for performing a service, even the simple act of singing a song, than to flip you a quarter for holding a beggars sign up at a busy intersection.

For two years I have practiced the art of playing the guitar. Well, truthfully, I first started playing the guitar when I was 14, but that was 49 years ago. And, I first stopped playing the guitar just before my 18 birthday. I sold my red Fender Mustang, and got drunk with the proceeds for about a month before I boarded a bus that took me to boot camp, and eventually to the Tonkin Gulf for 2 cruises. But, then I played for 3 more years in the mid-1990's, just long enough to realize that I should have stuck with playing the guitar. I was close to a natural at rhythm guitar, and was getting better at playing lead guitar. My problem then was that I was a single dad. I didn't have the luxury of not having to earn a steady income. But, in November of 2009 I retired from a 35 year trucking career. In August of 2010 I bought an acoustic/electric guitar to keep from being bored. And, now I am ready to hit the road as a busker.

But, that is not all I have been working for the past 2.5 years. Actually for about the past six years I have been building a photography portfolio. And, over the past winter I have been looking for a way to build a freelance photography business within 2 photographic specialties, travel and event photography. I have spent the past 1.5 years photographing events, nature and industrial (trucks and the oilfield) projects around my hometown. But, it is my desire to work in travel and event photojournalism, and to work as a busker. My first major project is to find, photograph and promote street performers, first in the United States, and then as I travel around the world. There is probably know better way to learn about busking that to live the life of a busker. And, to work as a travel photojournalist it stands to reason that I need to be traveling.

So, how do I propose to get started? By taking one step at a time. The one lesson in life that I have tried to teach all of my children is: where there is a will - there is a way. I look back on my life and count the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people that were always there to tell me I could not accomplish my dreams. I believed them. I don't want my children to believe them. Every successful business has to have funding. And, unless you are filthy rich to begin with, you will need to find a source of funding. And, with the help of a funding source that started out as venture capitalism, and has now grown into "crowd funding" it is possible for anyone to accomplish their dreams. All you need is a good idea, and the guts to pursue it.

Crowd funding as defined by Wikipedia:  
Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.[citation needed] Crowd funding occurs for any variety of purposes,[1] from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns, to funding a startup company, movie [2] or small business[3] or creating free software. Another aspect of crowd funding is tied into the JOBS Act which allows for a wider pool of smaller investors with fewer restrictions. The Act was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. The SEC is going to have approximately 270 days from the enactment date to set forth specific rules and methods to ensure that funding will actually take place.[citation needed]

To Be Continued!!!

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